One man. One motorcycle. And 24 hours to ride as far as possible | Top Gear
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Tuesday 26th September
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One man. One motorcycle. And 24 hours to ride as far as possible

A world record attempt like you’ve never seen before: watch Iván Cervantes and his Triumph Tiger 1200 GT Explorer challenge the very limits of endurance

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18 minutes 52 seconds

They were the hardest 24 hours of my life

Imagine riding a motorbike from London to the Great Pyramid of Giza in just 24 hours. A total of 4012km… over one day and one night. 

When Spanish enduro rider Iván Cervantes undertook to try and break one of Guinness World Records’ toughest challenges, that’s exactly what he was trying to achieve. At the helm of a Triumph Tiger 1200 GT Explorer, on 29 April, he tried to ride further in 24 hours than anyone had ever done before.  

Iván, obviously, is not your normal rider. A five-times enduro world champion, 21-times national Spanish enduro champion, and five-times Spanish motocross champion, this is a man with “why not?” tattooed on his wrist. Yet even Iván said:  “I have a lot of fear – or maybe respect is the right word – for this challenge, because maybe I can’t do it.” 

The venue was the unique Nardò Technical Centre in Puglia, Italy. Its outer ring is a perfect circle, with a flawless surface, a place more usually used for long-distance testing by manufacturers of their prototype models. Yet travelling for 24 hours on such a featureless track – aside from the obvious requirements to refuel, eat, drink, sleep and take care of nature’s call – obviously brings other challenges, as Iván said before he set off to Italy: 

“Training hard offroad is getting me fit for the 24 hours world record. Offroad, you have different corners, sliding a little bit to keep control of the bike, the body fighting with gravity, you feel everything. Not on the asphalt. For the 24 hours challenge it’s a psychological problem. It’s 24 hours! How is your head? We don’t know, but we are training hard for that!” 

And. of course: the bike. The stock Triumph Tiger 1200 GT Explorer rolled off the production line and went straight into the attempt. No modifications at all.

But it couldn’t have been more suited for the challenge. The bike is designed at heart for comfortable cross-continent travel: a 30-litre fuel tank, a powerful 1160cc engine, heated grips and seats, and great weather protection (which, as you will see, became important). The perfect balance between speed, power and comfort. Huge distances are what this bike was built for, but could Iván do it?  

No more spoilers here – you need to watch the film above. Click at the top of the page to watch a truly incredible feat of mind over matter through 24 hours of changing strategy, rain, courage and the sheer biology of sleep deprivation… 

Performed by professional riders under closed course and controlled conditions. Do not imitate. Always wear appropriate protective safety equipment

(Pictures: Triumph Motorcycles)

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